Baruch

Today’s reading is Jeremiah 36, 43, and 45 with a focus on Baruch.

Who was Baruch? Most know of the prophet Jeremiah, but may not know of Baruch, his scribe. Not only was Baruch given the task of writing down the prophecies God gave to Jeremiah, but he was also given the task to tell the Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and his officials what the prophecies said about the fall of Jerusalem to King Nebuchadnezzar when they would be taken into exile as a result of their idolatry and turning away from the Lord. I have to imagine Baruch’s thoughts when he was writing this down for Jeremiah. He was likely thinking this not good and probably wondering who the pour soul would be that had to risk his life to deliver this message….only to find out that pour soul was him!

What else was Baruch thinking? Was he scared for his life? Was he wondering why it had to be him? Was he bitter that although these were Jeremiah’s words, he was the one who had to risk his life and deliver the news? Was he thinking…why me? Whatever fears, anxieties, and maybe even bitterness Baruch had about delivering this message, he must have faced them and let God use him as His servant because he did in fact deliver the message. While we don’t know his thoughts, we are potentially given some insight that he may have been wondering some of these things and really thinking, “What’s in it for me?” In Jeremiah 45:5, God speaks directly to Baruch through Jeremiah and says, “And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, for behold, I am bringing great disaster upon all flesh, declared the Lord. But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places which you may go.”

Is your life in a spot right now where you are wishing you had accomplished more worldly success and you are not where you thought you would be at this point? Have you been a “behind the scenes” guy or gal like Baruch without much notoriety? Let us remember what the world, and what we being in the world, view as success is not what God views as success. Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:30 and Matthew 20:16 that the last will be first. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have big goals and aspire to be all God’s called us to be and use the talents and gifts He’s given us. If that means we are to be CEO, then that’s great. These verses also tell us the school cafeteria worker, the garbage person, the ditch digger, and the retail worker are viewed just the same in God’s eyes and potentially must greater if they are living for God’s purpose and His Kingdom instead of the world. Jesus says in Matthew 21:28 that even the Son of Man (Him) came to serve and not be served.

If we have not achieved the worldly success we desire or have faced financial or health hardships in our lives despite the fact that we believe we are doing most things right and living for Him and wondering why and “what’s in it for me?”, let us remember that God has given us “life” like Baruch and everything we truly need which is forgiveness from our sins through Jesus so we can live with Him for eternity. This is the greatest gift we could ever be given….for eternity is much longer than the life we are given on this Earth, whatever suffering or challenges we face or lack of worldly success and accolades while here. Do you also believe you have not been living for Him to this point? Well, He gave His life for you and forgives you, and now you have the option to give your life to Him from this day forward. Let us all pray for clarity on where we are today in our relationship with Him and for wisdom on where He wants us to go from here.

Saul

Today we get a chance to read and reflect on the life of Saul. I must admit it was a little difficult when thinking back to all the recent people of faith we have been sharing. Another side of me found it hard because of what you will realize about Saul when you read today’s readings of 1Samuel 18-19.

A few nights ago I was up in the middle of the night thinking of the life of Saul in these two chapters, it was marked by disobedience. When you look back at 1 Samuel 15 the Lord was not happy with Saul and how Saul had turned away from the Lord and didn’t follow any instructions from the Lord. He didn’t obey.

1 Samuel 15:22-23 says

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, Saul’s
and to listen than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has also rejected you from being king.”

Once Saul made the decisions to not obey the Lord. Evil entered Saul’s body. 1 Samuel 18:10. Then enters fear, jealousy, and selfish desires to have David killed. Saul tries this numerous times but without success. My wish was that we would read further and see how this disobedience changed, but we don’t. Saul continues to live his life this way eventually losing everything and even taking his own life. 1 Samuel 31

There are many things we want to do, places to go-lives to change. But I realize that the first action God wants from us is to obey. God has given us His Living Word so we know exactly what He desires from us. As I looked in the back of my bible for the word obey, obedient, obeyed, obeying there are 116 (if I counted correctly) verses on obeying the Lord or His word. I encourage you to look at this in the back of your bible now. Here is one of my favorite verses.

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” — Luke 11:28

I just want to obey. I need prayer for this daily. We see the results of what happens when we don’t. When we allow ourselves to make the decisions. We stumble and fear, jealousy, or selfishness enters. When we obey, we will receive His blessings. When we obey, others we are blessed. When we obey the Lord, we will never be disappointed.

What’s your go-to verse on obedience? Do you have one?  Look back and find one that speaks to you today.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Just like I ask my own children daily to obey me, please help me to obey you. Our temporal world speaks lies that we can do it ourselves and that our way is right, but we see and know that the only way is through you. God, we ask for a mind, heart, and body that says yes to all the things you ask and desire through your Living Word.
Amen